Talk:Joseph Stalin

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Joseph Stalin page.


Unsourced[edit]

Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to Joseph Stalin. --Antiquary 18:11, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


  • Damn you all to hell. And it's not treachery, it's running a persuasive campaign.
    • Joseph Stalin, rumored to be said after the Great Purge of 1938
  • "It's a shame Hitler had to go and attack us. Together, we could really have done some things!"
    • Stalin made to his daughter after Germany had invaded the Soviet Union.
  • "I'm so paranoid that I worry that I am plotting against myself."
    • Stalin to Lavrenti Beria, the last leader of the secret police during Stalin's lifetime
  • The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. (Знаете, товарищи, - говорит Сталин, - что я думаю по этому поводу: я считаю, что совершенно неважно, кто и как будет в партии голосовать; но вот что чрезвычайно важно, это - кто и как будет считать голоса)
    • Both quotes are from Boris Bazhanov's 'The Memoirs of former Stalin's secretary' Saint Petersburg, 1992 (in Russian). Bazhanov defected to the West in 1928. Probably it was the same text that was published in France back to 1930 - Boris Bajanov, Avec Staline dans le Kremlin (Paris: Les Éditions de France, 1930) --Nekto 11:57, 15 April 2006 (UTC)
      • As of Bazhanov (Бажанов) sourced-quotes. Bazhanov was a well-known anti-Stalinist and in his books he provided extremly preconceived point of view. I personaly would at least mark those quotes as "attributed to". Those attributed quotations, compared to those sourced by reliable sources, differ greatly even in style. Not to mentiotion overall low reliability of Bazhanov's works.
  • In the Soviet Army, it takes more courage to retreat than advance.

It is claimed that Averrell Harriman, American ambassador in Moscow, said to American professor Urban (sp?) in 1979 that Stalin used this phrase in conversation with him. Further research is needed. --Nekto 12:33, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

There is little doubt that it WAS more courageous for a Soviet soldier to retreat than to attack. Those who attempted to retreat were typically shot by blocking forces designed specifically for that purpose. Stalin had issued a famous order called "Not One Step Back!" and enforced it mercilessly.

184.175.48.100 03:20, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

  • When I am gone, the capitalists will drown you like blind kittens.
    • Many variants; from a speech apparently made to the Politburo in 1950.
  • What shall we do? We shall envy!
    • Что делать будем? Завидовать будем!
    • Rumored to be said after receiving a report about Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky's inappropriately large number of female lovers.
  • Beat, beat and beat again!
    • When asked how to treat political prisoners and get information out of them, Nikita Khrushchev alleged that had been said.
  • You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.
    • Variant: You cannot make a revolution with white gloves.
  • Then Devil is with us, and together we will win.
    • In response to Churchill's "God is with us", during WW2.
  • "All young people are the same, so why write about the young Stalin?"
    • Not stated, should be quoted from Russian archives.

Quantity is quality[edit]

  • Quantity is quality
    • Variant: Quantity has a quality all its own
    • This quote is reminiscent of the Marxist theoretical principle that steady quantitative changes can lead to a sudden qualitative leap. It is therefore likely that Stalin may have said something like this. However, in the variant "Quantity is quality", there is an undialectical equation of the two. Stalin is therefore unlikely to have used this variant; the variant "Quantity has a quality all its own" is therefore more likely.
    • This quote is sometimes tied to a commentary on Russian tank and troop production
      • I've seen this attributed to him on dozens of web pages. It probably should go in unsourced until someone can trace a primary source down.
      • It should probably go in the garbage can. 205.237.144.123 19:00, 20 February 2013 (UTC) Activist (talk) 19:06, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
This is a misattribution; it's a 1970s US defense formulation of an old Marxist/Hegelian/Ancient Greek idea. I've elaborated in this edit.
—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 20:41, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Did Georgy Zhukov say this? He certainly was found of giving quotes, although they were generally not overly memorable.

I believe the quote of "Quantity is quality" is usually attributed to Napoleon talking about military tactics/strategy, but then it is probably way older then that, going back to the dawn of military hystory simply because it is pretty obvious.

Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.[edit]

  • Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.

I bet it comes from the western folklore. Those quotations were completely unknown in the USSR before perestroyka. I cannot find any sources for them in Russian. --83.237.62.153 18:44, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs.(Через полтора года, когда Сталин отстранил Зиновьева и Каменева от власти, Зиновьев, напоминая это заседание Пленума и как ему и Каменеву удалось спасти Сталина от падения в политическое небытие, с горечью сказал: "Знает ли товарищ Сталин, что такое благодарность?" Товарищ Сталин вынул трубку изо рта и ответил: "Ну, как же, знаю, очень хорошо знаю, это такая собачья болезнь")

Soldier not worth a General[edit]

  • A Lieutenant is not worth a General!
    • Stalin's refusal for a prisoner exchange, after Kurt Daluege offered Stalin back his captured son if General Paulus was returned to the Germans.
  • I do not trade a soldier for a marshal.
    • In response to the German offer to trade a POW Field Marshal Paulus for Stalin's captured son Yakov.
  • I do not change the soldier for the marshal.
    • In response to the German offer to change a Marshal for Stalin's captured son Yakov.

Conviction vs Fear[edit]

"I prefer to rule my people through fear rather than conviction. Convictions can change, but fear remains. "
Isn't this a quote from Stalin? I didn't see it in the list, though I may have missed it. --84.193.113.243 19:05, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like a condensed version of Machiavelli's Chapter XVII of the Principe ("... much safer to be feared than loved ..."). The rationale given there is exactly the same -- only wordier -- as in the alleged Stalin quote: that humans are "ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed [...] they will offer you their blood, property, life and children [...] when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you ...".
It is not impossible that Stalin paraphrased Machiavelli. Whether it is likely IONO; I'd guess not considering a) Stalin himself favored brute-force approaches to Machiavellian scheming, and what seems like schemin was simply clinically paranoia. b) Machiavelli was perhaps the foremost philosopher of power in the late Aristocrat/early Capitalist era, and that era was precisely what Stalin wanted to overcome (he didn't co-opt later Capitalist philosophers either as it seems).
Needs reliable source (date, setting, context) but I'd tend to believe it's bogus. 87.78.80.57

To choose ones victims quote[edit]

I've heard this quote attributed to Stalin "To choose ones victims, to prepare ones plans minutely, to stake an implacable vengeance upon the world there is nothing sweeter in the world." Can some one investigate?

Terror to control the population[edit]

There is a quote being attributed on the web to Stalin that I was unable to find a source for:

"The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. The public will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened"

If anybody can confirm or refute Stalin as the origin of that source, it would be great to add it to the article. --217.237.39.193 10:53, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

Appears to be a fake quote, oldest reference is found in the book Vile Acts of Evil [[1]], which was published in 2009. The author claimed the quote was from Stalin, but the citations included do not include the quote. The book is filled with similar fake quotes, misquotes, and misattributions. (Downix (talk) 19:58, 29 November 2015 (UTC))

Stalin's pipe joke[edit]

Any other sources for this one?

"it wasn’t just opponents of the regime who told them. Stalin himself cracked them, including this one about a visit from a Georgian delegation: They come, they talk to Stalin, and then they go, heading off down the Kremlin’s corridors. Stalin starts looking for his pipe. He can’t find it. He calls in Beria, the dreaded head of his secret police. “Go after the delegation, and find out which one took my pipe,” he says. Beria scuttles off down the corridor. Five minutes later Stalin finds his pipe under a pile of papers. He calls Beria—”Look, I’ve found my pipe.” “It’s too late,” Beria says, “half the delegation admitted they took your pipe, and the other half died during questioning.”"

"Hammer and Tickle" by Ben Lewis, via [2]